Meet the Musicians of the 2016 Uncommon Music Festival in Sitka, Alaska.
SYLVIA LEITH, MEZZO-SOPRANO
Mezzo-soprano Sylvia Leith has performed an extensive range of operatic and chamber repertoire spanning from the medieval to the contemporary, with a great deal of the baroque, romantic, and twentieth-century in between. A recent graduate of Yale University, where she earned a B.A. in German Studies, Sylvia served as Artistic Director of the Opera Theatre of Yale College (OTYC), Yale’s undergraduate, student-run opera company, for two seasons. With the OTYC she performed the roles of Lazuli in Chabrier’s L’étoile, Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Marcellina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and Télaïre in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux. With the Yale Baroque Opera Project, Sylvia appeared as Amastre in Cavalli’s Xerse, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Endimione in Cavalli’s La Calisto. Her recent chamber credits include performances of Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with musicians from Yale’s graduate School of Music, as well as a concert of medieval motets of Philippe de Vitry, presented in a conference hosted by Yale’s Department of Music. This fall, Sylvia will begin graduate studies in vocal performance at Boston University.
WARNER IVERSEN, GUITAR/THEORBO
Warner Iversen (D.M.A. from Eastman School of Music - in progress) shares his knowledge and enjoyment of music-making with others through performing and educating. He performs regularly on the modern classical guitar, the baroque guitar, and the theorbo. In 2010, Mr. Iversen was awarded a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music for his abilities on the classical guitar, and later earned a scholarship to attend Eastman for his Doctoral degree with a double major in Classical Guitar and Early Music (studying guitar with Nicholas Goluses and early music Paul O’Dette). In his doctorate Mr. Iversen co-directed a production of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, which was the first staged production in Eastman’s new Hatch Hall. Mr. Iversen has also given solo performances in the Rochester Early Music Festival, the Pegasus Rising concert series, and the Lute Society of America Festival among others. He has accompanied many chamber and operatic programs including a production of Handel's Alcina at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto under director Ivars Taurins, and a production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Juilliard School where Mr. Iversen served as a guest artist. Mr. Iversen is also an avid educator. He maintains a sizable private studio, and is often asked to lecture at various colleges including the Eastman School of Music on topics in early music and guitar history.
ANDY BERRY, BASS
Andy Berry is thrilled to join the musicians of the Uncommon Music Festival in continuing to forge a place for performance art in a world that increasingly underestimates the importance of the live moment. He celebrates the second year of his singing career with a diverse season, having sung the title role of Massenet’s Don Quichotte and Peter Quince in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both with Yale Opera. Passionate about the dramatic possibilities of concert music, Andy made his debut as bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem (Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Singapore’s Metropolitan Festival Orchestra) and as the Archangel Raphael in Haydn’s The Creation (Yale Glee Club). In January, he won second place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s New England Regional Final. Favorite past roles: Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro (Opera Theater of Yale College), Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (Yale Baroque Opera Project), Dr. Carrasco in Man of La Mancha (Central City Opera), and the bass roles in Purcell’s The Fairy-Queen (dell’Arte Opera Ensemble). Andy has sung as an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera and will join Pittsburgh Opera as a Resident Artist for its 2016-2017 season. Andy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology/neuroscience and a Master of Music degree in voice, both from Yale University, where he also directed the nation’s oldest collegiate a cappella group (the Whiffenpoofs) and developed an enduring love of small ensemble singing.
Jacob Reed - Keyboard
Jacob Reed is a rising senior at Yale, where he studies organ with Professor Thomas Murray in addition to his double major in mathematics and in music, for which he is the inaugural student in the simultaneous BA/MA program. Over the past several years, he has given recitals across the United States, Europe, and Canada.
In 2015, Jacob studied under Michel Bouvard, Bine Bryndorf, and Hans Davidsson at the Royal Danish Academy of Music Summer Campus; in 2012 and 2014, he studied with teachers Ton Koopman, Olivier Latry, Jon Laukvik, Margaret Phillips, Louis Robilliard, and Leo van Doesselaar at the International Summer Academy for Organists in the Netherlands. Jacob was a 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholar, and was selected as a 2013 YoungArts National Finalist by the National YoungArts Foundation—one of 152 finalists out of nearly 10,000 applicants, and the only organist among the 19 classical musicians selected.
Jacob has also performed frequently as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician on piano, harpsichord, cello and viola da gamba. He is an instrumentalist and vocalist for the Yale Collegium Musicum, and harpsichordist for the Yale Baroque Opera Project.
Canadian soprano Ariadne Lih is a devoted early musician who is equally at home in concert and on the opera stage. Previous roles include Aldimira in Cavalli’s Erismena and Romilda in Cavalli’s Xerse, both with the Yale Baroque Opera Project, and Phani in Les Indes Galantes at Amherst Early Music. She has appeared as a soloist with the Texas Early Music Project in their production of La Pellegrina as well as in New Haven with the Elm City Consort, and was recently featured by the Yale Music Department in a concert of Philip de Vitry motets.
Ariadne is a seasoned ensemble musician; highlights include the St. John Passion under Maasaki Suzuki and Judas Maccabeus under David Hill, both with the Yale Schola Cantorum. She is also manager, section leader and soloist for the Yale Collegium Musicum, a group she loves for its ability to introduce young musicians to early repertoire. A rising senior at Yale College, she is involved with a number of student-run ensembles, especially the Opera Theater of Yale College; in 2015-16, she sang Aloès in Chabrier’s L’Étoile and Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief. Ariadne studies voice with Dann Coakwell.
Nate Barnett is a conductor, composer, and tenor from snowy Rochester, NY. He graduated last May from Yale University with a Bachelor’s in Music, where he received the Beekman Cannon Prize for his senior project in composition, A Peace Prayer. Nate is active as a soloist, ensemble performer, and teacher, and can be seen around New York playing any of these roles (and sometimes two at once). He is passionate about deepening the cultural appreciation for live, communal performance, and strives to put his creative efforts to that end. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Dembski, Composer-in-Residence
Stephen Dembski studied piano from an early age, and was reading music long before he could read words. Warned against the clarinet on account of the braces on his teeth, and against the trombone because of the length of his arms, he took up the flute in elementary school. Later, he learned musical illiteracy: in high school and after, both in America and in England, he performed folk and traditional musics on the guitar, banjo, harmonica, and washtub bass, and played a lot of rock and roll, all "by ear." While still enrolled in college, he played flute professionally in Europe for a time, worked in a small band called Kiss that played mostly prisons in Ohio, and in a big band led by Cecil Taylor. By his early twenties, he was composing music back in the old Euro-American tradition, and eventually earned degrees in it from Antioch, SUNY-Stony Brook, and Princeton. His music -- which includes instrumental, vocal, and electro-acoustic works as well as pieces for improvising musicians and for interactive installations of sound and light -- has been broadly recognized by awards and performances in both the United States and in Europe.